ROME — Pope Francis has said that homosexual tendencies “are not a sin,” while encouraging parents who begin “seeing rare things” in their children to “please, consult, and go to a professional,” because “it could be that he [or she] is not homosexual.”
Asked about his famous soundbite “Who am I to judge?”, the pope said, “Tendencies are not sin. If you have a tendency to anger, it’s not a sin. Now, if you are angry and hurt people, the sin is there.”
“Sin is acting, of thought, word and deed, with freedom,” Francis said.
Asked by Spanish journalist Jordi Evole if he thinks it’s a “rarity” for parents to have a homosexual child, the pope answered that “in theory, no.”
“But I’m talking about a person who is developing, and parents start to see strange things … Please consult, and go to a professional, and there you will see what it is and may not be homosexual, that is due to something else,” he said.
Francis also said that in his opinion, it’s usually challenging for a family to have a homosexual child, as they can be “scandalized by something they don’t understand, something out of the ordinary … I’m not making a judgement of value, I’m doing a phenomenological analysis,” he said.
The pope’s words came in response to a question about comments he made last summer, when he said parents who detect their children have homosexual behaviors should take them to a psychiatrist.
In a new interview that aired Sunday with the Spanish news outlet La Sexta, the pope said he was “explaining that you never throw a homosexual person out of the house, but I made a distinction that when the person is very young and begins to show strange symptoms, it’s useful to go … I said to a psychiatrist, at that moment you say the word that comes out and, on top of that, in a language that is not yours.”
From his comments, Francis said, the media took away “‘the pope sends homosexuals to the psychiatrist,’ and they didn’t see the rest, and this is ill-intentioned.”
During the interview, the journalist alternates between the terms “homosexual” and “gay,” but the pope always uses the word “homosexual.” During his trip back from Brazil, in 2013, speaking with journalists, Francis famously became the first pope to use the word “gay.”
Once a homosexual identity is “set,” Francis said, a homosexual man or woman “has the right to a family, and that father and mother have the right to a son [or daughter], come as it may, and no son or daughter can be thrown out of the home.”
On abuse, it’s a process
The pope was also asked about his Feb. 21-24 summit on clerical sexual abuse, and he said that he understood some victims aren’t satisfied with the results.
“I understand them because one sometimes looks for results that are concrete facts of that moment,” he said. “For example, if I had hung 100 abusive priests in St. Peter Square, it’s a concrete fact, I would have occupied space.”
“But my interest is not to occupy spaces, but to start healing processes,” he said.
The concrete result of the summit, he argued, was to “start processes, and this takes time,” he said, but it’s the only way “for the cure to be irreversible.”
Francis compared the abuse crisis to the conquest of America by the Spanish, saying history has to be understood with the hermeneutics of the time. Prior to the explosion of the Boston scandals in 2002, he said, the “hermeneutics was it’s better to hide it, avoid future evils.”
But “when you hide, it propagates, once the culture of uncovering begins, things don’t propagate,” the pope said, encouraging survivors to come forth.
On Venezuela, and having a coffee with Trump
Asked about the situation in Venezuela, the pope said that the Holy See has tried to mediate but it “failed.”
He said he didn’t make a “judgment of value” on the different actors in the crisis and the failed dialogue attempts, and also revealed that after a failed attempt in 2016, there were other more “discreet, unofficial” attempts, “bridges that have helped a little.”
Venezuela today is facing an unprecedented crisis, with President Nicolas Maduro holding on to power with the support of China, Russia and Cuba, although opposition leader Juan Guaido was also sworn in as president by the National Assembly, following the country’s constitution. Guaido has the support of the United States, the European Union and most of Latin America.
Asked to give an opinion on Maduro, whom the pope has met twice, Francis said it’s difficult to give an opinion on someone with whom he’s spoken just for a few minutes, but defined him as a man “convinced of his thing” and underlined that he met with the successor of Hugo Chavez before the situation “became more acute.”
Asked to give an opinion on Donald Trump he said something similar, that he’s only met with the U.S. president for a short meeting dominated by protocol but defined him as a man who “has his project, has his plan.”
He said that he found it “odd” that people commented on his face that day, as the pontiff looked serious in most of the pictures.
“I often laugh … I must have had liver problems!” he joked.
Asked who he would have a coffee with if he had to choose between Maduro or Trump, Francis said that he’d have one “with both.”